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Productivity nag workshop

10 Apr 2020

I want my computer to productively yell at me

This workshop is to share how I set my computer up to yell at me… productively of coarse. My scripts are designed to operate both on Mac OS and Linux (with espeak package installed).

First time setup

You’ll need to download all of the scripts used for productivity yelling. I have scripts for GitHub pull requests, Jenkins statuses, and just general yelling.

Add the following environment variables to your ~/.bash_profile configuration.

export GITHUB_TOKEN="<your github token with repo scope>"
export PATH="$HOME/bin:$PATH"
export JENKINS_HEADERS_FILE=~/.jenkins-headers.json

Download scripts into your personal bin directory

Source code for scripts being downloaded found at

mkdir ~/bin
cd ~/bin
export baseurl=
for x in jenkins-call-url; do
  curl -Lo ~/bin/"$x" "$baseurl"/"$x"
  chmod 755 ~/bin/"$x"

Configure Jenkins authentication

To configure JENKINS_HEADERS_FILE to store your credentials set up your credentials in the following way.

read -ersp password: JENKINS_PASSWORD

# authenticate with Jenkins
jenkins-call-url -avvo /dev/null -m HEAD https://<your Jenkins host>/

This will store your credentials and session information in $JENKINS_HEADERS_FILE on disk. Subsequent calls will be re-use the cached session.

If you need credentials for multiple Jenkins instances what I do is move the existing file to a backup copy. Like:

mv ~/.jenkins-headers.json ~/.jenkins-heads.<jenkins host>.json

When I need to switch Jenkins instances, then I restore the appropriate JSON file to $JENKINS_HEADERS_FILE path.

Yell at me: some examples

This is a one-liners guide to your computer yelling at you from afar.

Wait for a Jenkins job to complete. Note: the build URL must be a classic build URL and not a blue ocean build URL. https://<your jenkins instance>/<classic build URL with build number>/

Get yelled at after a pull request is ready to be merged (i.e. somebody reviewed and required PR checks passed). "<github pull request web URL>"

Get yelled at waiting for Jenkins to become available. https://<jenkins server>/

Get yelled at waiting for a website to come back…

until curl -sfILo /dev/null <website url that normally returns HTTP 200>; do sleep 30;done; "Website is back online."

Wait for SSH to become available on a remote host.

until ssh -n user@host true; do sleep 30;done; "SSH is ready."

Wait for a compilation task to finish on your laptop by initiating the task from the command line. Also, report its success or failure audibly.

mvn clean package && success || failed

These are just some of the ways I make my computer aggressive towards me. I like using script because I made it a british male voice of the say command. Feel free to adjust this voice to your liking which will translate to the other scripts as well.

Additional documentation

If you’re on Mac OS X and you want to change the voice being used by script, then see the following command for additional voices.

say -v ?

For additional information see

This article was last updated Apr 10, 2020.

Posted in Engineering with tags: Git, Programming, Tips